This week is the final week of my full-time college career (I intend on continuing my education next year, but only with a couple classes at a time). Classes don’t end until next week but I was informed today that I will be able to forgo the two finals I have next week since I have A’s in all my classes and the rest of the finals are this week. I’m not worried much, if any, about finals due to the fact that the material I’m studying for my federal license is the same material that is on all of my finals. One more reason for me to be happy I knocked out my academics classes before I got to this school, and over summer semester last year. However, I do have another oral & practical exam in three weeks that I need to prepare for.
Given some of my instructors’ recent lack of, well, instructing over the last two semesters, I find myself struggling a bit more to remember much of the material than when I took my last set of exams (the topic of which I was much more comfortable with since I have experience in that area). I sat down with my study guide last week and made a double-sided legal pad page-long list of things I wasn’t comfortable enough with to go into the exam confidently. Since then, I’ve been going through every chapter of my 1,000-page text book reading up on each topic, some encompassing entire chapters. As I opened the window to start typing this, I was reading a chapter which I remember taking a quiz or test on, but don’t recall ever covering in class. It was only six months ago, my memory isn’t THAT terrible.
Honestly, I’m not so worried about the oral & practical exams, either. I killed them last time and I still have three weeks to study for this one, eleven days of which I’ll have nothing to do but study if I so please. What I’m far more concerned about is finding a job. I spent almost seven years in the military doing a job that doesn’t really translate into anything in the civilian real world. I’ve been told a thousand times that the military background is a great thing to have, something that nearly every employer looks for and prefers. Before I started school full-time, and when my unemployment ran out, I didn’t get one call back from any of the dozens or hundreds of jobs I applied for. The only reason I got my current part-time job is because the store manager is the brother of one of my best Army buddies, my former driver and roommate. I’ve been sending out four or more résumés per week for the past three months, and I’ve only gotten one email back. So much for the military experience paying off.
Then there’s the dilemma I’m sure nearly every college graduate faces these days: you have no experience, but every employment ad you find includes some statement saying the company seeks someone with X years experience. This is especially true in the aviation world, as it costs money to train new employees, so the less training the company has to provide, the sooner you can get to work, and the less money they have to spend on training you. Then they lose labor because a current employee has to shadow you and so on. If it’s not that, then it’s having to wait MONTHS for a background check in order to get a security clearance if you’re trying to work for a government contractor. Something else I wish I had acquired when I was in the military. I busted my butt to maintain a 3.8 or higher GPA over the last six semesters, and in my spare time I attempted to get as much hands-on experience as possible working for little or no pay at my local airport. A week away from losing my GI Bill, my main source of income to pay the bills, I’m looking into a job at a local shop making $12.50 an hour. That’s less than I would make if I went full-time at the hardware store I work part-time at, and a full $6 less than the average for a new mechanic in San Antonio, $10 below the national average.
So, if any of you know anyone in Texas in need of minimally-experience licensed aircraft mechanics, that will pay more than Whataburger or Walmart, I’d appreciate the help.
Santana – Jingo